Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Navy Uniform Updates

Here's a story on the new Navy uniform message (NAVADMIN 025/11). In addition to authorizing cutlasses for Chiefs, it finally allows Sailors to wear "portable electronic devices" on their belts. This is a long-overdue change, and by "long overdue" I mean that it's kind of OBE since most PEDs fit in your shirt pocket nowadays. Unless, of course, there are Pentagon staffers who want to run around with an iPad strapped to their waist. Luckily, the message still prohibits the use of the Borg-looking Bluetooth earwigs when indoors. I have an unreasonable dislike of those things, wondering why the person thinks they're so important that they have to save that extra second to answer the phone, apparently an urgent call from the President. Plus, they look demented when they're just standing in the middle of a room talking when there's no one around.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

USS Louisville DV Embark

Here's a COMSUBPAC video of a Distinguished Visitor embark for educators from Hawaii schools on USS Louisville (SSN 724) a couple of weeks ago:

What was your favorite VIP underway? Or were they all a waste of time?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Baby Nukes To Get Smarter?

Check out this post, with accompanying documention, from NavyCS Blog. It says that they're raising the academic requirements for incoming enlisted Nuclear Field candidates to “increase the chances for Nuclear Field pipeline training and Fleet success, and lower academic attrition in the Nuclear Field training pipeline.”

Basically, it looks like they're raising the minimum required score on the NAPT (which looks like the replacement for the old Nuclear Field Qualifying Test, except you don't have to take it if your ASVAB composite is high enough) and tightened up the high school math requirement to look at grades.

What do you think? Will this lower attrition? Personally, I've always thought Nuke School attrition (at least on the enlisted side) was good for the Navy; a lot of the best Submariners I knew were "Nuke Waste", and they might not have come into the Navy without the nuclear carrot and concomitant cash dangling in front of them. On the other hand, I can see if people have a problem with what has always kind of looked like a classic "bait-and-switch" recruiting technique.

What do you think? [Alternate question: Is "Nuke Waste" a derogatory term? I've always thought that people had no problem with it, but since I was a Nuc officer maybe the guys weren't being completely honest with me. If it is derogatory, I apologize for using it.]

Super Stealth Submarine -- Hide Your Kids, Hide Your Wife!

[Intel Source: Eagle1] Here's an article that follows up a previous report of a DARPA project that speculates that new acoustic energy-absorbing "metamaterials" could render submarines "invisible" to sonar. Excerpt:
The researchers tested their cloak’s ability to hide a steel cylinder. They submerged the cylinder in a tank with an ultrasound source on one side and a sensor array on the other, then placed the cylinder inside the cloak and watched it disappear from their sonar. Curious to see if the hidden object’s structure played a role in the cloaking phenomenon, the researchers conducted trials with other objects of various shapes and densities. “The structure of what you’re trying to hide doesn’t matter,” Fang said. “The effect is similar. After we placed the cloaked structure around the object we wanted to hide, the scattering or shadow effect was greatly reduced.” The geometry is not theoretically scaled with wavelengths.
I'm glad DARPA is working on stuff like this; in case there is a possible breakthrough in areas like this, I'd much rather that we make it. As far as the possibility that this material could be used to "hide" submarines, however, I see a couple of obvious problems: 1) I doubt that you could make a material of this nature retain its characteristics while expanding and contracting with the submarine's hull as it changes depth, and 2) the frequency range mentioned in the article doesn't seem that relevant for ASW.

When discussing this article, please don't mention any actual frequency ranges of interest.

[Here's another article on a potential new Navy breakthrough. This one involves skimmers with laser beams on their decks.]

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

USS Louisville COB Fired

Navy Times is reporting that the Chief of the Boat on USS Louisville (SSN 724) has been fired:
Senior Chief Yeoman (SS) Savan Patel was relieved as chief of the boat by his commanding officer, Cmdr. Lee Sisco, due to a loss of confidence in Patel’s ability to serve in that capacity, according to SUBPAC spokeswoman Cmdr. Christy Hagen.
...Patel, 32, is a 14-year Navy veteran who served on three fast attack submarines prior to his assignment to the Louisville. He reported as chief of the boat in July 2009...
He seems fairly young, as well as junior (Time in Service-wise), to have been a COB. Has this become more common?

Update 0728 27 Jan: Here's an article from a Honolulu newspaper that seems to confirm that a DUI was involved; I'm assuming that the COs name being given as the person arrested was an editing error.

I'm going to be deleting some of the comments soon; you know which ones they are (they involve unsubstantiated claims).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Anatomy of a Sub

Checking out the new "Share" functionality on YouTube for Blogger.

Update 0956 15 Jan: It looks like it works pretty well. Here's another video from the Navy, featuring a tour of USS Texas (SSN 775). It bothers me that the officer who's narrating the tour pronounces Submariner as "sub-MARE-in-er" ("less than a Mariner") instead of the correct (non-Brit) pronunciation "sub-mar-EEN-er"; I assume they'll fix that before he gets his fish:

The DBF Pin

Some links for your reading enjoyment this weekend:

1) An E-mail with the history of the "Diesel Boats Forever" pin has been making its way around Submarine Force inboxes recently. You can read the story behind the pin here.

Speaking of DBF, Cookie has a humorous diesel boat story here.

2) You can also check our a fairly new blog by a Submariner here, and a blog by a retired Navy Captain (Cryptology) here.

3) Here's a story that projects that 111 new submarines will be built around the world by 2020. I think the number is optimistic, especially the 13 new SSBNs part.

4) Electric Boat is hiring design engineers. Hopefully some of them that get hired will actually have some time on the pond. These new engineers will apparently be working on the next generation SSBN. They won't be in the water before 2020.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Blog And Life Admin

Now that both my sons have left on two year missions for our church (to Romania and Northern Chile), and my wife and daughter have full time jobs, I should have more time to catch up on some long overdue blog admin tickler items. One of the tasks I have to catch up on is removing old comments that people complain about because they contain their names and reflect them in an unfavorable light. I'll generally remove the comments when I can (it helps if the complaining party lets me know which post they are under) unless the person has been the main subject of worldwide news items, such that entire posts would have to be deleted.

Commenters can help me out by refraining from giving the full name of the person they're talking about if it isn't mentioned in the original story. Most of us Submariners will probably know who you're talking about, or if we don't the name won't really add anything to the story. In my case I use "He Who Must Not Be Named" to talk about one of my old COs (although I do note that I did match his name with the moniker in one post a couple of years ago); just using a first name and last initial should be fine.

For those of you who are worried that you are were too much of a dick and are afraid that your name might show up here, please know that this isn't the only submarine site on the web, and if I delete all the comments here, there's nothing I can do about people posting somewhere else. Also, when I do delete them, it will probably take a while for them to get purged from the Google cache; they'll have to re-image the page, which might take months if the post is really old. If you're a Submariner who is now -- or is thinking about becoming -- a dick, remember that those to whom you exhibit your dickishness are free to mention it almost anywhere on the Internet they want, on sites where the administrator might not honor your request to remove comments. One possible solution is just not to be a dick to your fellow Submariners.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

USS Annapolis In The Arctic

Because it's winter, here's a very cool picture of USS Annapolis (SSN 760) surfaced through the ice back in March 2009:

What's the coldest you've ever been on a submarine? For me, it was a surface transit through the Straits of Juan de Fuca and down the Washington coast (because an incoming SSBN had all the submerged water in the area) in December 1991. I went through 3 lookouts on that watch. I was The Man.

2nd Amendment Redux

For various reasons, I feel the need to revisit my thoughts on what the 2nd Amendment means, and doesn't mean, even though it's been less than 2 years since I last did so. Let's do this as a logic exercise; if you disagree with me, please point out the flaw in my logic:

1) Given that people should not be jailed for exercising their Constitutional rights, and;

2) Given that it is highly unlikely that one can violently overthrow the government without shooting Soldiers and Law Enforcement Officers, let alone politicians, and;

3) Given that people who shoot Soldiers, Law Enforcement Officers, and politicians go to jail, therefore:

**The 2nd Amendment does not contain a right to violently overthrow the government.**

I understand that reasonable people (and unreasonable ones, for that matter) can disagree, and bring up a number of 220 year old quotes. (However, please note that not even the NRA Questionnaire mentions support of the concept that the 2nd Amendment allows you to violently overthrow the government. And remember how the Father of our Country responded when faced with actual armed rebellion before claiming to "know" how the Founding Fathers felt about the concept in reality, as opposed to theory.) That being said, if you do believe that one has a Constitutional right to violently overthrow a tyrannical government, I'd ask a couple of questions:

1) Who decides when the government becomes tyrannical? Is it when they serve a warrant at a compound occupied by counterfeiters? When they try to tax whiskey? When they try to insure uninsured people by act of Congress?

2) If you answer, "Whenever a citizen decides they're tyrannical", do you then support releasing this guy, who killed a Soldier in front of a Little Rock recruiting station because he opposed what he thinks is a tyrannical government? Or is it just "whenever I decide it's tyrannical".

Here's my answer. I believe the 2nd Amendment gives us the right to prepare to overthrow a tyrannical government, but not to actually do it, for the reasons listed above. Were the government to do something that would inspire me to take up arms against it (cancelling elections would be one example) I would justify my actions based on a Higher Law than human law; I wouldn't expect that I could claim "I was within my rights" if I was on the losing side.

What do you think?

Friday, January 07, 2011

Boot Camp And OCS

Twenty-eight years ago today, I signed up for the Navy. I reported to Boot Camp at RTC Great Lakes a little over 3 months later (Company 108 in 1983). In 1988, I went to Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I., going through with Class 89001. I personally thought Boot Camp was harder than OCS (although neither was really that taxing), but that might have been because I was more ready for what they'd do when I showed up for OCS. I've talked to some people who thought OCS was harder.

It's been almost three years since we covered this topic, so we've got some new voices to add to the discussion. What are your favorite (or most interesting) memories of Boot Camp and/or OCS/Plebe Summer?

Monday, January 03, 2011

2010 Battle "E" Winners

The SUBPAC winners of the 2010 Battle "E" are as follows:

Commander Submarine Squadron (SUBRON) 1: USS Hawaii (SSN 776)
SUBRON 3: USS Jacksonville (SSN 699)
SUBRON 7: USS Tucson (SSN 770)
SUBRON 11: USS Hampton (SSN 767)
SUBRON 15: USS Houston (SSN 713)
SUBRON 17: USS Nebraska (Blue and Gold) (SSBN 739)
SUBRON 19: USS Michigan (Blue) (SSGN 727)
USS Frank Cable (AS 40)
Floating Dry Dock Arco (ARDM 5)
Special category awarded to Torpedo Weapons Retriever Swamp Fox (TWR 821)

It looks like the only repeat winners from last year are Frank Cable and Arco. Of interest is that there seems to be no SubDevRon 5 winner this year. Since my last two boats are in that squadron, I can't help but say that saddens me a little. (It's also possible that the announcement on the COMSUBPAC Facebook page just inadvertently failed to include it.)

I'll post the SUBLANT list as soon as I see it.

Update 0558 04 Jan: The SUBLANT list is here; I'll write it out when I get home from work tonight.

Update 0546 05 Jan: The SUBLANT winners:

SUBRON 2: USS Pittsburgh (SSN 720)
SUBRON 4: USS Virginia (SSN 774)
SUBRON 6: USS Albany (SSN 753)
SUBRON 8: USS Boise (SSN 764)
SUBDEVRON 12: USS Alexandria (SSN 757)
SUBRON 16: USS Florida (SSGN 728) Blue and Gold
SUBRON 20: USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740) Blue and Gold

What Happens On WestPac Stays On WestPac...

... unless it makes CNN. The CO of USS Enterprise (CVN 65) is being investigated by the Navy for videos shown on shipwide CCTV when he was XO of the ship during deployments to the IO and Arabian Gulf in 2006 and 2007. Excerpts:
"The videos were intended to be humorous skits focusing the crew's attention on specific issues such as port visits, traffic safety, water conservation, ship cleanliness, etc.," the Navy said in a statement to the newspaper.
Navy Cmdr. Chris Sims said in a statement sent to The Associated Press that the videos "were not acceptable then and are not acceptable in today's Navy."...
...Next comes a sequence of what appear to be outtakes in which Honors and others curse. Honors observes that comedians who performed on the ship always got laughs when they used "the f-bomb." After that, Honors and others are shown making hand motions that mimic masturbation.
Honors segues to the next segment by saying, "Finally let's get to my favorite topic ... chicks in the shower." Next are shown clips of pairs of women and a pair of men pretending to shower together. No nudity is shown, but the men's and women's bare shoulders imply they are nude. It's not immediately known why the videos are surfacing now. The Virginian-Pilot quoted anonymous crew members who said they raised concerns aboard the ship about the videos when they aired, but they were brushed off.
The original article, including video, from the Virginian-Pilot is here.

What do you think? Too offensive? Or a reasonable attempt to entertain and inform the crew of a warship in a war zone?

Update 0538 05 Jan: As expected, CAPT Honors was fired. Here's the statement from Fleet Forces Command, along with a story from Navy Times that includes links to some additional videos. At least the statement from ADM Harvey says the witchhunt will continue only for "senior officers" who knew of the videos, although I could imagine the PC police demanding all officers on the Enterprise who watched them be retrained/punished.

We've always known that what we may or may not do in the Navy while deployed could eventually get out to the public at large and cause a big stink. I actually thought it would happen during the last Presidential election, when I expected the Obama campaign to bring out people providing "testimony" about what Sen. McCain may or may not have done on liberty while deployed in SE Asia. I think the only reason it didn't was that the election wasn't that close.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Doc Appreciation

A reader wrote in and asked, "How about giving the good old Docs some love and open a discussion in regard to some good sea stories involving the Doc?" An excellent idea. Here's a picture of a submarine MDR at work to spark the discussion:

Personally, I really liked all the MDRs I worked with. What are your favorite stories about the Doc? Their humorous attempts to stand watch as Dive? Their capability to sleep 20 hours/day when nothing was going on? Their legendary capacity to hold their liquor on the beach? Or their ability, as happened on my boat, to save a Shipmate's life by diagnosing an unusual case of cancer while on station and convincing the CO to break off the mission to perform a MEDEVAC.

Helicopter Ride

Here's a photo from Seventh Fleet that features the son-in-law of one of my old high school classmates:

The only time I got to ride in a helicopter during my Navy career was in 2000 when I was on the Carrier Group Seven staff aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and took a trip over to the Brit carrier for exercise planning when we were working together in the Arabian Gulf.

Did you ever get to ride in a helo during your time in the Navy?